90125

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90125
90125 album cover.svg
Studio album by
Released11 November 1983 (1983-11-11)[1][2]
RecordedNovember 1982 – July 1983
StudioSARM and AIR Studios
(London, England)
Genre
Length44:34
LabelAtco
Producer
Yes chronology
Classic Yes
(1981)
90125
(1983)
9012Live: The Solos
(1985)
Singles from 90125
  1. "Owner of a Lonely Heart"
    Released: October 1983
  2. "Leave It"
    Released: February 1984
  3. "It Can Happen"
    Released: June 1984

90125 is the eleventh studio album by the English progressive rock band Yes, released on 11 November 1983 by Atco Records. After Yes disbanded in 1981, following the Drama (1980) tour, bassist Chris Squire and drummer Alan White formed Cinema with guitarist and singer-songwriter Trevor Rabin and original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye, who was fired in 1971, and began recording an album. They adopted a more commercial and pop-oriented musical direction as the result of their new material, much of which derived from Rabin's demos, with former Yes singer Trevor Horn as their producer. During the mixing stage, former Yes singer Jon Anderson, who had left in 1980, accepted the invitation to return and record the lead vocals, and subsequently Cinema became the new lineup of Yes.

Named for its Atco catalogue number, 90125 was released to a generally positive reception and introduced the band to a new generation of fans. It reached No. 5 on the US Billboard 200 and No. 16 on the UK Albums Chart, and remains their best selling album with over 3 million copies sold in the US. Of the album's four singles, "Owner of a Lonely Heart" was the most successful and is their only song to top the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. "Cinema" earned the group a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Yes toured for the album in 1984 and 1985 which included two headline shows at the inaugural Rock in Rio festival. The album was remastered in 2004 with previously unreleased bonus tracks.

Background[edit]

Trevor Rabin in 2017
Trevor Horn in 1984
90125 added guitarist Trevor Rabin (left) to the lineup, while Trevor Horn (right) shifted from vocalist to a producer role.

In December 1980, the Yes line-up of bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, singer Trevor Horn, and keyboardist Geoff Downes, completed their 1980 tour in support of the band's tenth album, Drama. While the North American leg was largely successful, the subsequent UK leg received a mixed reaction feedback from the fans, many of whom were unaccepting of Horn and Downes as they had replaced Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman respectively. The group disbanded in early 1981; Horn became a record producer, Howe and Downes co-formed the supergroup Asia, and Squire and White remained together and continued to write material, including their 1981 Christmas single "Run with the Fox". Later in 1981, the two entered sessions with Jimmy Page with the aim of forming a new band named XYZ, but the project was shelved over management differences and singer Robert Plant's disliking of the material. According to White, some ideas that the three had rehearsed ended up on 90125.[6][7]

By 1982, South African guitarist Trevor Rabin had moved from London to Los Angeles, and sent a demo tape to various record labels with the intent of releasing a fourth solo album.[8] During this time, Atlantic Records manager Phil Carson, a longtime fan and associate of Yes throughout the 1970s, sought new musicians to work with Squire and White, and was introduced to Rabin by producer Mutt Lange,[9] whom Rabin used to work with as a session musician. Carson had Rabin meet and play with Squire and White in London. Rabin recalled the first sessions "didn't sound great but it felt good ... there was a lot of potential".[10] This led to Rabin turning down a solo deal from RCA Records as he wished to work within a group context, especially with a "great rhythm section".[8] The three entered rehearsals for an album using most of Rabin's demos, including "Owner of a Lonely Heart", "Hold On", and "Changes"[11] which displayed a more commercial and pop-oriented direction and less complex in structure than previous Yes music. With such a direction, Squire recruited original Yes keyboardist Tony Kaye, who had left in 1971, feeling his simpler style of playing was more suitable to their new music. Horn followed suit as a potential lead singer, but after unsuccessful rehearsals, opted to become their producer.[12] The four named themselves Cinema with the intent of establishing a new identity and to distance themselves from their Yes past.[13][12]

Yes vocalist Jon Anderson, pictured in 1984.
Jon Anderson accepted the offer to rejoin the band as vocalist.

Around six months into the album, clashes between Horn and Kaye resulted in the latter's exit.[13][12] Rabin saw it as "a mutual parting" as Kaye resisted learning the modern keyboard technology that the band were using, leaving Rabin to handle most of the keyboard parts.[9] Matters were complicated further when management deemed Squire and Rabin's lead vocals not distinctive enough, so Carson suggested the group have Anderson return to sing the songs. Squire got in touch with Anderson, who had returned to England in April 1983 after working in France.[14] They listened to the tape in Squire's car outside Anderson's home due to past acrimony between the pair's wives.[15] Anderson liked the songs and got involved, making minor changes to the lyrics and arrangements. By this time the album had cost £300,000 to make, half of which came from Carson himself. With no more funds left to finish it, Carson flew to Paris and played the tape to Atlantic founder Ahmet Ertegun, who had signed Yes in 1969. Ertegun, interested in the prospect of a new album with Anderson on vocals, agreed to pay the remaining costs.[16]

As the album neared completion, news reports in June and July 1983 indicate that Kaye, though he had played on it, was unsure whether to rejoin.[17][18][19] The album was given the provisional title The New Yes Album, a reference to their third, The Yes Album (1971), but the group opted for an alternative name to distance themselves from Yes and decided upon its allocated catalogue number on their label Atco Records, a subsidiary of Atlantic. It was 90124 initially, but sleeve designer Garry Mouat said: "Because they couldn't get consistency worldwide with that number, it got changed to 90125. I've still got some rough tour t-shirts and sleeves with the original number."[16][20]

Following the announcement of Cinema on MTV, the group received threats of legal action from other bands with the same name which prompted a rethink.[21] As the group now consisted of four past Yes members, Carson suggested that they continue as Yes which concerned Rabin as he wished the album to be judged in its own right. But with Rabin persuaded, work began on promotion and rehearsals with keyboardist Eddie Jobson, formerly of Roxy Music and U.K. (Duncan Mackay, formerly of Cockney Rebel and 10cc, was also considered for the position.[22]) Jobson appeared in the video for "Owner of a Lonely Heart" and was reported in the press as a Yes member as late as November 1983;[23] however, seeking to consolidate the band's legal identity as Yes, management came to an agreement with Kaye who returned after touring with Badfinger. Unimpressed with the change, citing "political problems" within the group, and having a lack of interest in sharing live duties with Kaye, Jobson left by early 1984.[24]

Production[edit]

Recording[edit]

Recording began in November 1982[25] at SARM Studios in London while the group was known as Cinema, with Horn as producer; "Hold On" was produced by Horn and Yes. Production was assisted by Gary Langan and Julian Mendelsohn, both of whom also worked on Drama, with Stuart Bruce and Keith Finney.

Songs[edit]

"Owner of a Lonely Heart" was one of the songs from Rabin's set of demos; its bass line and its hook had been written while he was in the bathroom. When the song was chosen for inclusion on the album, Squire replaced his original bridge. The song features a sample from the horn section of "Kool Is Back" by Funk, Inc., that Horn intended to use on an album by Malcolm McLaren, which he was also producing. The sample was then stored onto his Fairlight CMI and played by White.[26] Rabin had used the same guitar tone for the opening on a session he did for Manfred Mann's Earth Band, which involved panning two guitar tracks left and right and aimed for a sound "as heavy as possible".[27]

"Hold On" was originally titled "Moving In"; the final song was an amalgamation of two songs Rabin had written as they both had the same tempo. The chorus of "Hold On" was retained with its verses taken from "Moving In".[28]

"It Can Happen" was written on the piano by Squire, with its introduction put together by Rabin to go with his piano chords.[28]

"Changes" was another song from Rabin's demos, with its introduction put together by White. Rabin developed it during a "depressed time", after a potential solo album deal with Geffen Records fell through as they wished for him to join a band and play more "like Foreigner".[28]

"Cinema" is an instrumental track recorded live at AIR Studios.[29] Originally the group developed an unreleased 20-minute song named "Time" and decided to include its two-minute opening on the final album.[28]

"Leave It" developed from a bass line from Squire and a melody from Rabin. When it came to recording the song, the band were not satisfied with the drum sound they were getting in the studio, so they recorded the vocals first.[28] However, one of the engineers had removed the song's click track time references, causing various synchronisation problems. Rabin spent as much as three days re-doing the vocals onto a Synclavier, but it "didn't feel completely right. So we redid the whole thing on top of the Synclavier stuff", a process that took several weeks.[30]

The lyrics to "Our Song" mentions the city of Toledo, Ohio, itself a reference to the band's show at the Toledo Sports Arena on their 1977 tour where the temperature on stage reached 126 °F (52 °C). The song received considerable radio airplay in the Toledo area.[31]

"City of Love" was inspired by Rabin's visit to Harlem in New York City while on his way to a rehearsal with Foreigner. His taxi arrived at the wrong address in a dangerous part of the area. Upon his return to Los Angeles, Rabin started to write an "ominous kind of thing" which came easy to him following the experience, "the idea of waiting for the night to come ... the derelicts came out of the sewers at nighttime to be thugs. Later Jon put his slant on it which made it more interesting".[30] The opening features a snippet of the introduction to Pines of Rome by Italian composer Ottorino Respighi.

"Hearts" is the album's only track that is credited to the whole group: Rabin came up with the chorus and bridge a few months prior to meeting Squire and White for the first time; Kaye wrote its keyboard introduction, Rabin developed a melody from it, and Anderson developed its counter-melody.[30]

Sleeve design[edit]

The album's logo was designed and created by Garry Mouat at Assorted Images on an Apple IIe computer, and a variant would be used on Yes's next studio album Big Generator. Trevor Rabin's 2003 album 90124 uses the same cover design with colour and text variations.

"I became involved as I'd worked with Trevor Horn when he set up the ZTT record label…" Mouat told Classic Rock. "At that point the band were called Cinema. The original design was similar to the eventual sleeve, but with the elliptical grey Y on its side and without the stick, to make it a C. But when Jon Anderson came back, they reverted to Yes… I know some fans think that sleeve was inappropriate, but Yes wanted something completely different to the Roger Dean works, and were interested in using modern design technology, as it fitted the new techniques they were using."[20]

Release[edit]

90125 was released on 11 November 1983. It reached No. 5 in the US and No. 16 in the UK.

Four singles were released from 90125; "Owner of a Lonely Heart" was released a month prior to the album and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks and the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. In 1984, "It Can Happen", "Changes", and "Leave It" reached the top ten on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks.

In 1985, "Cinema" won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance and 90125 received a nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[32]
Pitchfork7.8/10[33]
Rolling Stone[34]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[35]

A review in The Morning Call considered 90125 one of the band's best releases, calling it the "missing link" between the popular earlier albums The Yes Album (1971) and Fragile (1971). It described Kaye's keyboard parts as "dreamy" and at times "a contemporary rock attack", favouring this style over the more flamboyant approach adopted by former Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman. The review also stated that the "stalwart" rhythm section of Squire and White "hasn't lost anything", and named Rabin as "the biggest surprise" of the group who "adds a much needed gutsiness". Furthermore, the review compared "Cinema" to a Jeff Beck track.[36]

In a review for the Los Angeles Times, Terry Atkinson noted the prominent role of Rabin in the group but believed it falls short of the band's previous albums because of Anderson's reduced input into the songs, or a lack of the "old inspiration". Atkinson named "Hearts" as touching on the "monumental yet warm" music Yes had made in the 1970s, specifically "Awaken" from Going for the One (1977). Nonetheless, Atkinson wrote the album is "densely dynamic" and liked "Owner of a Lonely Heart" for being "catchy" and "full of unexpected turns", and wrote the simpler tracks "Our Song" and "Changes" allowed Yes to change their sound "without too seriously damaging its reputation". He concluded that 90125 is "enjoyable, only somewhat disappointing".[37]

J. D. Considine gave a mostly favourable review of 90125 for Rolling Stone. He points out "Owner of a Lonely Heart" sounds "too hip, too street-smart for a band whose idea of a pop song was once something as rococo as "Roundabout", yet credits the band's reinvention to Horn's production with "flashy pop sensibility" and his handling of the group's vocal harmonies. He thought "Cinema" and "Our Song" showed Yes displaying "old tricks" with such "overblown" tracks, though complimented the record as a whole for its accessibility.[34]

BAM magazine praised 90125, thinking Yes' "dramatic rise from the ashes of rock's touring heaps" had created "some of the year's freshest, most un-dinosaur-like music" with its "stunning blend of pop, synthetics, fusion and classical music".[38]

Critic and author Martin Popoff thought 90125 was the band's most "successful and sociable album" of their entire catalogue, comparing "Owner of a Lonely Heart" to a song by The Police. He declared the record "a rich album experience with legs".[39] In a retrospective review for AllMusic, Paul Collins gave 90125 four-and-a-half stars out of five, calling it "a stunning self-reinvention by a band that many had given up for dead" while complimenting Horn's "slick" production work and Kaye's "crisp" synthesisers on "Changes". He also cites the vocal arrangements on "Leave It" and the "beautifully sprawling" "Hearts" as high points on the record, which has "nary a duff track".[32] David Ellefson of Megadeth stated his fondness of the album, particularly Rabin's guitar work and quality of the production. He called it "a game-changer", and named it one of his desert island discs. The album's orchestral stabs were an influence on Megadeth's first album, Killing Is My Business... and Business Is Good!.[40]

Reissues[edit]

  • 1984 – Atco – CD (remastered by WCI Record Group)
  • 2002 – Elektra/EastWest Japan – "Mini LP" HDCD (Japan only; remastered by Isao Kikuchi)
  • 2004 – Elektra/Rhino – "Expanded & Remastered" CD (remastered by Dan Hersch and Bill Inglot)
  • 2009 – Atco – "Papersleeve" SHM-CD (Japan only; remastered by Dan Hersch and Isao Kikuchi)
  • 2009 – Audio Fidelity – 24-karat gold HDCD (US only; remastered by Steve Hoffman)
  • 2009 – Friday Music – 180-gram vinyl (US only; remastered by Joe Reagoso and Ron McMaster)
  • 2013 – HDtracks – 24-bit digital download
  • 2014 – Atlantic/Rhino – High Vibration SACD (Japan only; remastered by Isao Kikuchi)

Tour[edit]

Kaye, Rabin and Anderson performing in 1984 at the NEC Arena, Birmingham

Yes promoted the album with a worldwide tour that lasted from 28 February 1984 to 9 February 1985, spanning over 110 dates. It was meant to start with a North American leg from January 1984, but the dates were cancelled after Rabin ruptured his spleen after he collided with a woman in a swimming pool and required surgery to have it removed.[41] The American band Berlin were scheduled as the opening act during the first North American leg, but they were dropped from the tour due to a contract dispute. Instead, the band opened their shows with two Bugs Bunny cartoons.[42] The show in Dortmund on 24 June saw the group performing "I'm Down" with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page.[43] In 1985, Yes headlined two shows at the inaugural Rock in Rio festival. This was followed by two sold-out dates in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which marked the first time an English band had performed in the country following the Falklands War. Anderson recalled the group were escorted into the country in a private air force jet, and were surrounded by militia during the entire visit. They had a conference call with the president before their arrival, who ensured their safety despite reported death threats against the band.[44]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Owner of a Lonely Heart"Trevor Rabin, Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Trevor HornAnderson, Rabin4:27
2."Hold On"Rabin, Anderson, SquireAnderson, Squire5:15
3."It Can Happen"Squire, Anderson, RabinAnderson, Squire5:39
4."Changes"Rabin, Anderson, Alan WhiteRabin, Anderson6:16
Total length:21:37
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)VocalsLength
5."Cinema"Squire, Rabin, White, Tony KayeInstrumental2:09
6."Leave It"Squire, Rabin, HornRabin, Anderson4:10
7."Our Song"Anderson, Squire, Rabin, WhiteAnderson4:16
8."City of Love"Rabin, AndersonAnderson4:48
9."Hearts"Anderson, Squire, Rabin, White, KayeAnderson, Rabin7:34
Total length:22:57
2004 CD bonus tracks[29]
No.TitleWriter(s)Extra notesLength
10."Leave It" (single remix)Squire, Rabin, HornSame as the "Leave It (Remix)" version on Twelve Inches on Tape; remixed by Steve Lipson3:56
11."Make It Easy"RabinFirst issued on Yesyears (1991); performed by Cinema; vocal: Rabin6:12
12."It Can Happen" (Cinema version)Squire, Rabin[nb 1]First issued on Yesyears (1991); vocal: Squire6:05
13."It's Over"RabinPreviously unreleased; performed by Cinema; vocal: Rabin5:41
14."Owner of a Lonely Heart" (extended remix)Rabin, Anderson, Squire, HornSimilar to "Owner of a Lonely Heart (Red and Blue Mix)" on Twelve Inches on Tape. This version begins and ends differently and is 45 seconds shorter.7:05
15."Leave It" ("A capella" version)Squire, Rabin, HornMixed by Lipson3:18
Total length:1:16:51 (76:51)

Personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the album's 1983 and 2004 liner notes.

Yes

Additional musicians

  • Deepak Khazanchi  – sitar and tanpura (track 3)[45]
  • Graham Preskett  – violin (track 6)[46]

Production

  • Trevor Horn – production, backing vocals[45][46]
  • Yes – co-production on "Hold On", production (tracks 11–13)
  • Gary Langan – engineering
  • Nigel Luby – engineering (tracks 11–13)
  • Trevor Rabin – engineering (tracks 11–13)
  • Julian Mendelson – additional engineering
  • Stuart Bruce – additional engineering
  • Keith Finney – assistant engineer
  • Jonathan Jeczalik – keyboard programming
  • Dave Lawson – keyboard programming
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Garry Mouat – album sleeve

Chart performance[edit]

Chart performance for 90125
Chart (1983–1984) Peak
position
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[47] 27
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[48] 9
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[49] 3
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[50] 4
French Albums (SNEP)[51] 2
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[52] 2
Italian Albums (Musica e Dischi)[53] 10
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[54] 9
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[55] 25
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[56] 8
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[57] 7
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[58] 3
UK Albums (OCC)[59] 16
US Billboard 200[60] 5

Certifications[edit]

Certifications for 90125
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[61] Gold 30,000^
Australia (ARIA)[62] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[63] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[64] 2× Platinum 200,000^
France (SNEP)[65] Gold 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[66] Platinum 500,000^
Italy (FIMI)[67] Platinum 100,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[54] Platinum 275,000[54]
Netherlands (NVPI)[68] Gold 50,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[69] 2× Platinum 30,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[70] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[71] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "RIAA". Recording Industry Association of America.
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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The CD package erroneously credits this version to Squire, Anderson & Rabin -- i.e., the same credit as on the album version -- even though it predates Anderson's involvement in the project.

Sources[edit]

  • Welch, Chris (2008). Close to the Edge – The Story of Yes. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-84772-132-7.
  • Schinder, Scott; Schwartz, Andy (2008). Icons of Rock: Velvet Underground ; The Grateful Dead ; Frank Zappa ; Led Zeppelin ; Joni Mitchell ; Pink Floyd ; Neil Young ; David Bowie ; Bruce Springsteen ; Ramones ; U2 ; Nirvana. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313338472.
  • Chambers, Stuart (2002). Yes: An Endless Dream of '70s, '80s and '90s Rock Music: An Unauthorized Interpretative History in Three Phases. General Store Publishing House. ISBN 978-1-894-26347-4.
  • Morse, Tim (1996). Yesstories: "Yes" in Their Own Words. St Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-14453-1.*Popoff, Martin (2016). Time and a Word: The Yes Story. Soundcheck Books. ISBN 978-0-993-21202-4.

External links[edit]